we can all fanny about cavorting with the new starlets on the Sheffield beer scene and sampling the output of camelopardelic jesters with donkey themed beers, but yer know, that's not a long term plan. Sometimes you gotta go with what yer know. Luckily what yer know is often what yer like in Sheffield. Wherein another 40th and a few nights socialising near work have seen me enjoy a celebratory roll call of established Sheffield beer stalwarts.
First up is ickle babbeh DAda. Soon about to or having just had its second birthday, the oddly themed ale destination continues to be a favourite of mine with a winning combo of great beers and likeable staff. Relishing the prospect of a DJ (he spins rekkids, for our younger readers...) on Saturday we set about drinking quite a bit of good quality ale, including Red Willow. We started on the impeccable Smokeless smoked porter on cask, before moving onto the rather stronger Soulless black IPA on Keykeg. Further rounds included bottles of Hardknott Infra Red and some of their Azimuth on Keg before we finished on Halcyon. Plenty of thoroughly excellent beer to be had as there is so often.
Next up is another slightly longer established haunt - but not by much. It's Shakespeares, who are barely two and a half years old. Last week I "had" to attend several amber conferences with persons from work, and it seemed daft not to nip into the nearby award winner. First up on Tuesday was my friend Mr Marsh. He and I used to "work" at the exams board and much japery was had - for reasons of libel, I can't really name the individuals who made our tenure there so amusing but Frenjamine John, Mrs Christine and Terry outer-organs were villains and pantomime fools in equal measure.
Pints of Arbor Tasmanian Devil IPA were my companion until Miss N joined us and I moved on to the Mallinsons Citra - also tasted was a rather excellent pint of Ascot Anastasia stout, although the Arbor probably shaded it . We also bought a bottle of Nogne Global Pale at about £4.00 - not their strongest beer but at least almost sensibly priced for a bottle in a pub.
Wednesday saw me catch up with Christingpher where I moved onto pints of the excellent hoppy Mallinsons Kahatu. Myself and Miss N also partook of a bottle of the Emmelise espresso stout and a half or two of the Arbor Down Deeperest, now on at £5.00 a pint and still tasting rather fab even though its been " a while" since it was tapped.
Finally, Thursday saw Miss H accompany me for the first time in a year or so and it was Mallinsons all the way again, along with some Arbor when Miss N joined me after an epic shift at Chez gulag. All in all a great line up of beers from the venerable bard and a great venue to boot.
Friday saw me in town at the Rutland Arms, which is now nearly 4 and 5th years old, for some much needed food and some rather less important real ale. Miss N was steadfastly on the Gorlovka where as I was taking it a little easier on a beer which hasn't been named yet - we both finished on halves of excellent Magic Rock High Wire after I had a fantastic chorizo burger. We were also there on Saturday the week before last. Heading to meet Miss N at the Tap I found myself early in town and had to use up the time afforded to retrieve my scarf from the Rutland where I had drunkenly left it the night before. Such was the exhausting magnitude of this event I had to stop for a pint of Hop Studio XS and a half of the Acorn Bishops IPA.
A swift detour to see Matt and Miss N in the Tap heralded a taste of Tiny Rebel Fubar and a pint of the excellent Ilkley Black before we returned to the Rutland to be a little reckless. Despite the seemingly laudable undertaking of a steak and ale pie and chips (which was fantastic) this sensible layer of protection against crapulence was undermined in no uncertain terms by Magic Rock Human Cannonball. At 9.2%, even 4 halves of this beer, I can confirm, makes one a trifle drunk. And so it was to be. But it was damned good fun doing it.
The final stager is Abdeydale brewery. Now officially very old, I was visiting there the other day to catch up with Dan and was given a tour of the brewery, now about 5 times larger than when I first visited in the late nineties. Most of the rooms contained equipment, merchandising and casks apart from one which was surprising. Faced with a range of large stainless steel vessels spanning its length, Dan told me this was "where the magic happens". No wonder he doesn't do much brewing these days - quite how he has time to fanny around performing card tricks and rabbit out the hat deceits when he should be mashing is beyond me...
A quick trip to the breweries only pub, The Rising Sun at Nether Green followed. For reasons of journalistic independence I went for a non Abbeydale beer - Magic Rock Clown Juice, which was rather ace. Cadence forbids me from reporting what young Daniel had to drink however....
A good catch up followed along with a taster of the Four Yorkshiremen of the Apocalypse which I understand was inspired by Ali Capper the well known British hop campaigner and grower, and which is a brew featuring exclusively British hops. Slightly tamer in taste than I expected it did however have a lovely aroma which I recognised straight away.
Abbeydale are a great example of an expanding and diversifying Sheffield beer success story - and they don't look out of place with quality like the Rutland, Shakespeares and DAda one bit. A resounding indictment of the quality of real ale in Sheffield.